The oldest known redwood was verified to be at least 2,200 years old, and encountering specimens in the forest that have reached the age of 600 is not uncommon. With trees of such age, it is appropriate that the park located in northwest California is also home to a long, rich history, starting with the presence of Native Americans.
Numerous groups of Native Americans are believed to have lived among the redwoods for at least the past 3,000 years. According to basic government data (see Resources), the largest group in the area was the Yurok tribe.
Gold was discovered in the area around the Trinity River in the 1850s, resulting in an influx of white prospectors, many of whom stayed after the mini-gold rush ended. This effectively ended traditional Indian habitation, with the population of Yuroks declining from 1,052 in 1851 to only 384 by 1895.
The arrival of Caucasians looking for gold also coincided with the first major logging operations in the forest, which began around 1850.
First Redwood Park
The first park created to protect the redwood forest was a California state park in Santa Cruz County. Founded in 1902, California Redwood Park later became Big Basin Redwoods State Park.
After California created a state park system in the late 1920s, the Prairie Creek, Del Norte Coast and Jedediah Smith state parks were founded to further protect the redwood forest.
The Redwood National Park, larger than all the California redwood state parks combined, was created by the U.S. Congress in 1968.
Article Written By Edwin Thomas
Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.